Oil Producers Turn Attention To Powder River Basin

Aug 6, 2014

Oil well outside of Wright, Wyoming.
Oil well outside of Wright, Wyoming.
Credit Stephanie Joyce

Wyoming’s Powder River Basin is getting renewed attention from oil and gas companies. The region has been producing oil for decades, but now companies are looking to tap some of the Basin’s old reserves using new techniques, like horizontal drilling and fracking.

As analyst Raoul LeBlanc, with IHS Energy, explained in a video blog last week, his firm thinks the Basin could have as much potential as some of the much better-known plays in North Dakota and Texas.

“Importantly, we think it has some key ingredients and some really positive trends that point to the possibility of it becoming a big success in the future.” LeBlanc said.

The key ingredient LeBlanc points to is the abundance of oil-bearing rocks formations to tap into, all stacked on top of one another. While companies have been mostly targeting the Niobrara shale formation in recent years, the IHS analysis points out that initial production out of lesser-known formations, like the Frontier and the Shannon, is as high, or higher.